Under no circumstance is sexual harassment acceptable in the workplace. When your place of business becomes hostile or offensive due to inappropriate jokes or flirtatious behavior, you may have a claim against your employer, colleagues or other professionals.
In California, claims of sexual harassment are treated extremely seriously and it helps to understand the legislation before you file your claim.
Understanding sexual harassment legislation
The FEHA or Fair Employment and Housing Act is responsible for California’s sexual harassment regulations. It covers all unwanted advances, from sexually suggestive verbal innuendos and physical advances.
Sexual harassment may refer to quid pro quo, where an employer or manager coerces a subordinate into any type of sexual or romantic relationship with promises of career opportunities or higher pay. Harassment also refers to hostile teasing, flirting and offensive behavior.
Determining who you can report for harassment
When people think of sexual harassment, they may think that the only people they can report are employers or supervisors. You can file claims against anyone you have a working relationship with. Likewise, you can make claims against your employer if your employer refuses to address reports of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Harassment can also occur in any form of a business relationship. For example, if someone offers to help you with your business on a professional basis but is not an official employer, you can still file a claim against him or her. Others you can report include:
- Elected officials
- Directors and producers
If you suffer any economic loss due to harassment or emotional distress, you may have a financial claim against the individual.